Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Geothermal Country Notes
Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Electrificación (INDE) has five geothermal areas for development. All five (Zunil, Amatitlán, Tecuamburro, San Marcos and Moyuta) lie in the active volcanic chain in southern Guatemala. INDE has conducted both investigative work and development of geothermal power since 1972. It has been estimated that Guatemala's geothermal resource could supply 20% of the country's electricity supply. However, at the present time, only about 3% is derived from geothermal power. The 2004 law, Incentives for the Development of Renewable Energy Projects (which provides a favourable tax regime), together with help from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and various other agencies, will provide the basis for growth in forthcoming years.
The first geothermal power plant in the country was constructed in the Amatitlán area; electricity was produced from a 5 MWe back-pressure plant for a period of three years (from October 1998), during which time the field was evaluated. The Amatitlán field is again producing electricity from a 5 MWe unit and also supports the direct use of geothermal energy, in the form of using steam for drying concrete blocks and a fruit dehydration plant. It is estimated that the area has a total potential of 200 MWe.
A second geothermal plant (in the Zunil I field) with a running capacity of 24 MWe has been operating since July 1999. Following INDE's exploratory drilling work, a contract was signed with Orzunil I for the private installation and operation of the plant. Until 2019 the company will buy steam from INDE and sell power to the national grid. Exploratory drilling in the Zunil II field has shown that it possesses 4 MWe proved capacity and Zunil I has been found to have a potential capacity of 50 MWe.